REVIEW: Kellogg’s Special Edition Krave Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cereal

Kellogg s Special Edition Krave Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cereal Box

What is Kellogg’s Krave Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cereal?

Well, it’s NOT Krave cereal stuffed full of cookie dough so, sigh that breath of disappointment now. You probably should have been able to figure that out from looking at the box, though, so I’m not going to let you mope about it for very long. This new special edition Krave cereal has a cookie dough flavored outside and the signature chocolate inside that Krave enthusiasts, uh, crave.

Kellogg s Special Edition Krave Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cereal 2

How is it?

For a cereal to attempt to be cookie dough in a world where there are literally cereals made of tiny little cookies is pretty brave, Krave. The sugar saturated air that escapes when you open the box is familiar, expected, and isn’t unlike cookie dough aroma. The little cereal pieces themselves have tiny chocolate freckles on the outside sugar coating, which is unique to this flavor and appreciated by this reviewer for the appetite appeal when trying to convince me that this tastes like cookie dough.

Kellogg s Special Edition Krave Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cereal 3

Trying the cereal plain, the crunchy pieces are definitely chocolatey, and the sweet sugar coating adds a different flavor, but it’s not overwhelmingly cookie dough-like. The biggest challenge is that the taste of cookie dough goes hand in hand with the texture of cookie dough. These cereal pieces are yummy, but I’m not getting very much of the raw flour, raw vanilla, gooey butter flavors of cookie dough.

Kellogg s Special Edition Krave Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cereal 4

How is it with milk, though?

It’s a pretty remarkably different experience when you eat this with milk. The cereal buoys take on milk like a sponge, and the texture shift makes each bite so much closer to the texture of cookie dough. The flavor is still not spot on, but there are hints of eggy doughy notes that come through. Like most Krave cereals, it’s sort of a race to eat it before the whole bowl turns to one amalgam of soft, but who isn’t up for a speed challenge in the morning, right?

Kellogg s Special Edition Krave Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cereal 5

Kellogg s Special Edition Krave Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cereal 2

Anything else you need to know?

Upon reviewing a cross-section, I’m sure it’s no shock that the chocolate insides definitely don’t “ooze” out of the cereal the way the image on the box depicts. Maybe if you microwaved it? Don’t do that.


All in all, I’m more convinced than ever that the taste profile of cookie dough is elusive and complex. This special edition Krave is grasping at straws trying to hit that flavor if you eat it dry. But try it with milk and I think most people will think to themselves, “Yeah, okay, sure,” while merrily gobbling down these sugar nuggets.

Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: 16.7 oz box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10 (dry), 7 out of 10 (with milk)
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup dry) 170 Calories, 4 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 16 grams of sugar (includes 15 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Java Chip Oreo and Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies

Java Chip Oreo Cookies Package

Everyone loves a comeback story. Like the Buffalo Bills 1993 wild card victory, or Diana Nyad finally completing the 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida after several failed attempts, or fat (yeah, fat, it’s allowed now). These are victories we can stand behind, nodding and muttering, “Well, I’ll be damned. They did it.”

With the love of a comeback in mind, I’d like to introduce you to the Rocky Balboa of cookies, the Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo, and the 2007–2008 Chicago Cubs of cookies (they’re not QUITE there yet), the Java Chip Oreo.

Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies Package

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to consider Oreo’s initial attempts. In 2018, Nabisco launched a Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo using Golden cookies and a chocolate cream that had a nearly undetectable hazelnut flavor, the cookies’ greatest flaw. Similarly, Nabisco is not new to coffee flavor combinations, having launched Dunkin’ Mocha Oreo, Latte Oreo Thins, and Tiramisu Oreo with varying degrees of success.

Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies Open

Java Chip Oreo Cookies Open

Upon opening, the Hazelnut Oreo had me concerned. These mostly smelled of chocolate, maybe even just plain Oreo. However, the Java Chip package had a robust and pleasant coffee aroma that immediately reminded me of coffee ice cream, perhaps because of how sugary sweet it was.

Because coffee can be a strong flavor, I decided to try the Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo first. To be fair (TO BE FAIR), the pressure was ON. Launching a chocolate hazelnut flavor is a huge challenge in a confectioner world dominated mainly by Nutella, a mammoth of a product that’s often imitated but never duplicated, and Oreo had already failed that test once. BUT. NOT. THIS. TIME.

Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies Closeup

Friends, these updated Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo are a dream. The hazelnut flavor in the cream filling is POWERFUL, and the slightly darker, more bitter chocolate cookie rounds out the flavor delivery into an irrefutable success. I think I might have said “wow” out loud.

The flavor is not overwhelming or artificial tasting. It’s nutty, balanced, and definitely there. These might be my new favorite Oreo. I’m already thinking up what kinds of baked goods I’d like to make with them. Yum. I’m not giving them a perfect score because the creme is the standard Oreo texture, where I think hazelnut spread is usually impeccably smooth.

Java Chip Oreo Cookies Closeup

As mentioned earlier, however, the story is not as sweet for Java Chip. These cookies are certainly tasty. Using Oreo cream to emulate ice cream is definitely strategic and, in my opinion, a closer flavor match than aiming for coffee alone. But overall, I wasn’t that impressed.

The little added texture element of the tiny chocolate chips throughout the Java Chip cream certainly aided the experience. If java chip is your favorite ice cream, I can see a Dairy Queen coffee Blizzard with chopped up pieces of Java Chip Oreo Cookies being GREAT. But I wouldn’t seek these out again. There are just too many more exciting options available.

Java Chip Oreo and Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies Together

Overall, these are good, but the Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo stands out. Nabisco had some ground to recover from its 2018 miscue, and I think it’s done so here. Time will tell if it can better impress us with a coffee, java, or espresso iteration in the future.

Purchased Price: $3.67 each
Size: 17 oz (Family Size)

Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out 10 (Chocolate Hazelnut), 6 out of 10 (Java Chip)
Nutrition Facts: (2 cookies) 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of total sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Flipz Pumpkin Spice Covered Pretzels

Limited Edition Flipz Pumpkin Spice Covered Pretzels Bag

Some snacks are so ubiquitous that I’m surprised there isn’t more branded competition in the US retail snack world. Chocolate coated pretzels are definitely one of those treats. Everyone understands what they are, and they’re generally appealing. But there’s maybe one or two brands tops that immediately come to mind.

When it comes to coated pretzels, Flipz is that sturdy standby brand, occasionally dabbling in seasonal flavors like Gingerbread or Caramel Sea Salt. This year, it’s Pumpkin Spice Flipz, and I was cautiously optimistic that these would be delicious. The back of the bag even promises these Flipz pair well with “…friendz!” Cute.

Limited Edition Flipz Pumpkin Spice Covered Pretzels Waft

When I opened the bag, I was hit with a waft of pumpkin spice aroma so strong that I could have closed my eyes and convinced myself I was standing in the candle aisle of a HomeGoods. It was powerful. There was a slight buttery vanilla scent as well. I was a little concerned the flavor would be terrible.

Limited Edition Flipz Pumpkin Spice Covered Pretzels Innards Bite

Fortunately, the smell straight out of the bag is a strange tease compared to the actual taste of these covered pretzels. The taste is sweet and pretty reminiscent of white chocolate Flipz at first. You can taste the salty pretzel, and then there’s a lingering aftertaste of pumpkin spice.

The pumpkin spice flavor is so mild at first that I’m not certain I would have noticed it if I wasn’t trying to detect it. I do think the flavor builds as you eat more, but it certainly takes its time. Not at all like the experience of opening the bag. While a lot of pumpkin spice-flavored snacks tend to overdo it, these left me wanting more.

There was also a white drizzle across some of the pretzels, but it was purely decorative. They all had a similar blend of white chocolate, vanilla, and pumpkin spice flavor despite the amount of drizzle on top.

Limited Edition Flipz Pumpkin Spice Covered Pretzels Drizzle

Overall, these seasonal Flipz are fine. You could probably open a bag of these as a fire-safe alternative to lighting a pumpkin spice candle in a small room. Thankfully, the taste isn’t at all overwhelming, and you could easily eat a full serving without wanting to boycott pumpkin spice-flavored snacks until next August.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 7.5 oz pouch
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz/7 pieces) 150 calories, 5 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, 12 grams of added sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets and Mighty Hot Sauce

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Package 1

If there were a Netflix mini-series about Fast Food Fried Chicken, spicy nuggets deserve their own episode.

Obviously, spicy chicken is nothing new, but when it comes to fast food’s big players, Wendy’s was the first one out of the gate with spicy nuggets. But its on-again, off-again availability eventually opened up space for Burger King to come onto the scene in 2017. They also came with a healthy side of creative social media stunts, including giving away free nuggets to anyone named “Wendy.” Amazing!

McDonald’s has offered spicy chicken items along the way, from various sandwiches to its Spicy Chicken McBites in 2012. But these new McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets are, apparently, the first new nugget flavor (officially) since 1983. And that’s not all, folks. These are accompanied by the Mighty Hot Sauce, the first new dipping sauce since 2017 (2018’s Szechuan sauce was a return, remember?)

My first impression? The packaging is lame. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so who cares?

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Orange 2

My second impression? These nuggets are gorgeous! They had more of an orangey hue (am I imagining that?) than the standard Chicken McNuggets, and the tempura coating looked extra flakey. The Mighty Hot Sauce had the crimson tincture of torturous flames and visible chili flakes. Ohboyohboyohboy!

I tried the Spicy McNuggets without the sauce first. The texture was familiar and on point, super flakey and with that sort of airy fluffiness McNuggets are known for. I’m sure that texture isn’t everyone’s preference, but these deliver if you like McNuggets.

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Bite 3

The spice level started out mild and grew naturally, like heat from a real spice source. Mine seemed to have a “dry heat,” which you’d expect on chicken. There doesn’t appear to be any seasoning within the nugget; it’s all on the coating.

My only small complaint is that the spice level seems to vary drastically from nugget to nugget. I was concerned when the first McNugget didn’t deliver much heat, but it grew with the second. But it doesn’t get hot enough for me when eating the Spicy McNuggets without the sauce.

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Sauced 4

But then, from a humble little black plastic cup, comes the Mighty Hot Sauce, karate-kicking the doors RIGHT off this mother with HEAT.

This sauce is fire. It coats the Spicy McNugget perfectly. In the laziest of descriptions, it’s like the sweet and sour sauce with heat. But it’s better than that. It has pepper flavor, a vinegar kick that hits you right away, a sweet *thwak* from, what is that on the label, Apricot? And then a long slow burn that leaves your tongue and lips tingling for a while after you’re done eating.

Pretty soon, I couldn’t tell whether the heat of each new bite was building from the McNuggets, or if the Mighty Hot Sauce was just blazing away. I found myself wishing I’d asked for honey or maybe ranch to balance it out. When I get these again (yep, “when”), I’ll definitely order fries and try dipping them in this spicy sauce.

Overall, I think this entry into the spicy nugget competitive landscape was well done by Mc’y D’s. It stayed true to its style of McNuggets while offering something new with a spice level you can build upon to your liking. If you want to take it to a 10, load on that Hot Mighty Sauce.

I’m glad McDonald’s didn’t try to overhaul its signature McNuggets too much, and that it launched a hot sauce that is genuinely hot. I will definitely be a repeat customer.

P.S. For what it’s worth, 50% of my McNuggets were boot shapes! Is there some kind of McNugget horoscope reading for when that happens?

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 6 Spicy McNuggets + 1 Mighty Hot Sauce
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (6 McNuggets) 250 Calories, 16 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 540 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Baconator Pringles

Wendy s Baconator Pringles

Like many of you, I imagine, going to the grocery store is one of my absolute favorite things to do. When I turned 30, I got a birthday card that said on the inside, “You have a favorite grocery store now” as though I hadn’t had one since my 20th birthday? Ha!

Anyway, there I was this past Tuesday, strolling along the aisles of the Skokie Jewel-Osco (an Albertson’s chain, for anyone eager to find these crisps) when I spotted an endcap display wall of glowing Wendy’s signs. Okay, they weren’t glowing, but the bright illuminated red Wendy’s sign graphic on the black tube of Pringles made it LOOK like they were glowing. This store had the new Limited Time Only Wendy’s Baconator Pringles.

Pringles has pulled off some pretty complex flavor combinations before, and I was eager to try these out. The image on the front is the classic, original Baconator with two quarter-pound patties, six strips of bacon, cheese, ketchup, and mayo on a bun.

Wendy s Baconator Pringles 2

Wendy appears on the pop-top lid and there’s a code printed on the underside of the lid for an offer for a free Baconator, Son of Baconator, or Breakfast Baconator with a purchase when you order using the Wendy’s app.

Wendy s Baconator Pringles 3

I was ready for this tube (can? cylinder?) of Pringles to have an overwhelming bacon smell, but it actually was balanced from start to finish, and the crisps were visibly seasoned with a light orange powder (I always prefer it when I can see the seasoning, don’t you?).

There are an awful lot of artificial bacon flavored and scented items out there, and some of them are offensive – this isn’t one of those items. These crisps have tangy sauce flavor, onion, and a great balance of bacon and charred burger.

Compared to the Baconator itself, the crisps could have used a little more bacon flavor, but I appreciate that they didn’t just make a bacon-flavored chip. These crisps taste like meat.

Wendy s Baconator Pringles 4

The aftertaste is slightly sweet, almost like Cheerios. Maybe they were going for bun flavor? But if you don’t like the aftertaste, just shove more meat crisps into your gob, you goof.

Overall these are a surprisingly balanced crisp that do taste like all the elements of a Baconator. Maybe Pringles will bang out a fried egg-flavored crisp next and we’ll have an excuse to eat Breakfast Baconator Pringles in the morning.

I’d try it.

I sincerely hope you’re able to locate these Baconator Pringles. If you’re in the Venn Diagram of people who love Wendy’s and people who love Pringles, these are a little slice of heaven just for you.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 5.5oz can
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 crisps/28 g) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.